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Partner Engagement VISTA Fellow

Greater Chicago Food Depository
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The VISTA member will serve as a community landscape expert within Cook County with knowledge of agency partners, community organizations, faith institutions, and other organizations and institutions that are participating in meaningful impact and outcomes for the communities they serve. They will help develop and grow resources and partnerships to provide further services to clients at distribution sites.

Service Activities

• Identify and support partner agencies to help them build capacity to provide a broader range of services to clients that promote stability and well-being. Review current partnerships and the capacity to serve the community.
• The VISTA will work in collaboration with Food Depository staff and external partners to develop workflows and program models of service, beyond providing food that increases the health and nutrition experience for program participants receiving food.
• Promote healthy foods, recipe cards, and cooking demonstrations in the highest targeted communities through collaboration with our partners or non-profit organizations.
• Provide data management by collecting weekly distribution reports and entering into the enterprise system.
• The VISTA will also ensure food access partners consistently provide nutritious lean proteins and fresh produce at all distributions by assisting the onboarding and education of new pantry partners.
• The VISTA will explore best practices and feasibility of supporting the Food Depository’s partner agencies in the implementation of a social service referral platform. VISTA members will travel to partner agencies to complete this objective.
• Support relationship-building and cultivate meaningful collaborations that promote the ongoing development of partners engaged in nutrition access and providing individuals and families in need of essential resources and support.
• The VISTA will create easy-to-implement processes that provide information and connection points for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and medical benefit enrollment events, and programs proved to help lift people out of poverty and eliminate hunger at its source.
• Educate key stakeholders on the complexities of food insecurity and the continuum of responses through community events and training.
• Support the Associate Manager and Manager of Partner Engagement with onboarding of New Members and other special events and activities designed to engage all partners and stakeholders (e.g., Hunger Walk, Community Impact Day, and Advocacy efforts).
i. Assigned as a Case manager to new pantry partners. The Vista will complete the weekly reports and submission.
ii. Create and support special events in conjunction with the community partner.
d. Work collaboratively with members of the GCFD Community Impact department to provide training and technical assistance when needed to food distribution partners in the areas of reporting requirements, general food program operations, volunteer recruitment, and succession planning, resource management, transportation, and underscoring the importance of food safety.

Community Need Addressed

The Hunger Action Corps VISTA project seeks to alleviate poverty by increasing access to nutritious food. It will benefit more than 25 schools and 5000 children, and 300 food distribution sites. VISTAs will build capacity by aiding school-based nutrition throughout Illinois, supporting the growth of current programs, and engaging community members to increase long term investment in school meals. They will also develop and grow resources and partnerships to provide nutrition education to clients at distribution sites. Internally they will improve efficiency in organizational development services. VISTAs’ work will have direct and measurable impact on the health and wellbeing of thousands of individuals, and overall food security.

Position Outcomes

The VISTA member will serve as a community landscape expert within Cook County with knowledge of agency partners, community organizations, faith institutions, and other organizations and institutions that are participating in meaningful impact and outcomes for the communities they serve. They will learn the ins and outs of partner engagement and community relations.


Childcare assistance if eligible, Education award upon successful completion of service, Health coverage, Living allowance, Non-competitive eligibility (federal jobs), Relocation allowance (if applicable), Student loan forbearance, Training

Skills you will gain

partner engagement, project management, donor services, nonprofit operations, program development and logistics, knowledge of Cook County community and food insecurity issues

Competencies You Will Develop

Demonstrate sensitivity and empathy, Lead group discussion, Listen to and consider others' viewpoints, Maintain open lines of communication with others, Speak clearly, in precise language and in a logical, organized and coherent manner, Write cleary and effectively
Creativity & Problem Solving
Able to identify and define the problem, Communicate the problem to appropriate personnel, Improvise, Provide relevant expertise, Select and implement well-considered solution
Develop constructive working relationships and maintain them over time, Establish a high degree of trust and credibility with others, Interact professionally and respectfully with supervisors and co-workers, Stay positive and outcome oriented, Use appropriate strategies and solutions for dealing with conflicts and differences to maintain a smooth workflow
Accepts responsibility, Identify and prioritize the key issues involved to facilitate the decision making process, Involve people appropriately in decisions that may impact them
Carefully consider which tools or technological solutions are appropriate for a given job, Seek opportunities to improve knowledge of tools and technologies that may assist in streamlining work and improving productivity
Able to prioritize various competing tasks, Demonstrate the effective allocation of time and resources efficiently, Set goals
Be pleasant, courteous, professional and respectful when dealing with internal and external customers or clients, Honor the privilege of being able to work with and for those being served, Provide personalized, prompt, and efficient service to meet the requirements, requests and needs of customers, Understand the importance of one's role in the functioning of the organization, Understand the significance of maintaining a healthful and safe environment
  • Activity Types Hands On Activities, Office Activities, Professional Activities
  • Focus Areas Aging, Community & Nonprofit Development, Education & Youth, Health & Nutrition
  • Length of Service 12 Months
  • Education Requirements High School Graduate
  • Placement Individual and Team Placements
  • Service Setting Community-based Nonprofit
  • Weekly Training Hours 3

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